The new sugar beet factory proposed in North Yorkshire is looking less likely after the breakdown of discussions over the sale of the site, owned by North Yorkshire County Council, reports the Yorkshire Post.

Dubai-based sugar refiner Al Khaleej International submitted an outline planning application for the £350 million Northern Sugar plant at the former Allerton Quarry between Leeds and Harrogate last May. It envisaged a factory with a 36,000 tonnes daily beet slicing capacity – the UK’s largest existing site, British Sugar’s Wissington factory, can process around 20,000 tonnes per day.

“North Yorkshire County Council can confirm that it is no longer in commercial discussions with any party about the proposed sale of land at Allerton Park,” a spokesman told the Yorkshire Post. “The council is therefore considering its options as it regards the site to be of significant strategic value.”

Al Khaleej project director Mark Beardwood added that his company still believed there is an opportunity for a factory in Yorkshire, but was looking at alternative sites in Europe, particularly Spain.

“Yorkshire used to be a significant grower but there is nowhere to process it, which was the idea behind this,” he told the paper. “The UK imports millions of tonnes of sugar and could grow it here instead. We have put the project on hold; if it did move forward I think we would have to be persuaded.”